mevans wrote:That "extra person" is basically my calling. ...
Thank you for your experienced response, it is helpful. Have you been invited to Ward Council meeting and been given some time to promote these tools? Do you report to the Ward Clerk, Bishop, or bishopric member? Have you tried to promote all of them at once? I am wondering if a strategy would be to conquer 1-2 at a time and then move on to the next ones. Say get a fairly good use of the Calendar & Directory before adding the Lesson schedules and Newsletter? But then again if this is a desirable stratey then maybe the newsletter and the calendar together, which would hopefully be a way to get the word out about all of them?
As others have said, get an idea of who has LDS Accounts. You may need to start there and help them know they need their own accounts, etc. You can't get anywhere without getting that one right.
I've tried meeting with organization presidencies. Some of them are more interested in others. I haven't met with all the presidencies. I do communicate with the ward council and extended ward council via email at times. For example, when LCR expanded to the ward organizations, I sent many emails. It took a while, but I think people started looking at it. I should probably follow up with some reminders that it exists, as I won't be surprised if people have forgotten. Overall, I find that people don't think of going to LDS.org to get the info they need. It can take many reminders. And then more reminders.
Where you start depends on your circumstances. For example, I've given up on the Calendar. The Stake is in charge of that and they use it incorrectly, which makes more of a mess. We also have a ward in our building that's in another stake and they use Google calendar for planning their ward activities. I've tried having some discussions with various parties and have concluded that it's not worth my effort to push this right now. It is what it is. The sad thing is that the Calendar is probably the most advanced tool the church has made available to us. On the other hand, if you have traction on this, it's a great, helpful tool.
You might want to start with the presidencies and bishopric. Make sure they have LDS Accounts. Get them in LCR. That might give them reason to explore other things. More is coming with LCR, too.
For Lesson Schedules, I've taken it upon myself to make it happen. I'm probably one of the few people in the ward who use it, but I work with the organizations to plan the annual curriculum and make sure it's fairly accurate. The Elders Quorum counselor in charge of lessons likes it and updates it with the instructors. He finds it helpful. He's also a programmer in real life, so perhaps he's more inclined to use technology. I feel it's important to have accurate content there for those who go there.
For Newsletter, I try to keep it updated with some happenings so people will see info if they go there. As I've mentioned in this forum before, many ward leaders were very interested in the Newsletter until they found out there's no push mechanism. After they find that out, there's no interest.
My calling is fairly self-directed. The bishop just wants me to help. Lately, I've been impressed that I've needed to work more on the Directory. I've made a lot of effort to get more pictures on it. I've also decided to seek out visitors to see if they're just visiting and need to find classes, moved in, investigating, etc. I come equipped with my laptop and digital camera nearly every week. If someone just moved in, then I get their records on the spot, get their pictures for the directory if their record didn't come with pictures, and sometimes I find out there are reasons they need to meet with the Bishop and connect with the with Executive Secretary and get them lined up with the Bishop--sometimes during Sunday School if there was an apparent reason for the Bishop to see them immediately. I have received feedback from the Bishopric that the photos are helpful.
My calling also got me more involved in these forums. Even though my ward/stake may not be embracing the tools too well, I've felt like I need to be involved here learning from others and helping others. The things I learn here help me help my ward members and solve problems before people were aware they existed.
There has been talk of my coming to Ward Council to review things, but I think that gets pushed aside due to the limited time and more urgent matters. There's also been talk of me doing a 5th Sunday Relief Society/Priesthood to review technology, but that hasn't happened. I have done some teacher inservice meetings to show teachers the technology that is more applicable to them in planning, preparing, and presenting lessons.
This is a long answer. Hopefully it's helpful. We've branched beyond the "newsletter" topic. I don't know if the moderators are going boot this thread elsewhere or not.